This article interrogates the cultural politics of a series of storytelling performances in Jerusalem in light of an ongoing “revival” of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish heritage in Israel. An examination of performers’ on-stage narratives and interactions reveals three discursive approaches to defining authentic Jerusalem culture through descriptions of “old-time” lifeways: emphasizing the city’s cosmopolitan past; challenging contemporary social hierarchies in Israel via jabs at “Ashkenazim” and idealization of Sephardi culture; and through claims of underlying Jewish unity.
[Reviews of: The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace, by Yael S. Aronoff; Why Hawks Become Doves: Shimon Peres and Foreign Policy Change in Israel by Guy Ziv]
Though research on Israel/Palestine often privileges the macro-geopolitical perspective, a growing body of work has begun to catalogue the ways in which the violence of occupation is carried out through intimate spaces and practices. However, often missing from such accounts is an understanding of intimacy as a counter-veiling political force. Looking at the ‘Love Under Apartheid’ project in Palestine, and queer anti-occupation organising in Israel, this paper considers how storytelling can serve as both a research methodology and political intervention, changing the way geopolitical stories are told and unfold.